A Soldier's Life

Cover from an Original Painting by John Wynne Hopkins B .Ed. , G.Av.A. Militiary Aviation Artist John is a consummate Military Aviation Artist who served in the Rhodesian African Rifles during the Zimbabwe Independence conflict. His first commissions were for the 1st Battalion, Rhodesian Light Infantry, and the 1st Battalion, Rhodesian African Rifles.  John returned to Wales in 1982 where he taught as head of a school art department prior to early retirement to paint professionally.
A Sapper's Poems and Short Stories
Year Published 
Major Bruce Sand, CD (Ret'd)

As a military engineer officer, I served my entire working life as a soldier. It may seem odd to the reader that this limited-edition book is a collection of poems and short stories.  Most retired military authors write biographies, their own, or about others they admire, scholarly works or military based novels.  Few chose poetry as a genre to describe their lives. Poetry is often overlooked as a medium to portray a story.  For many, poetry lacks appeal to describe military life. More than any other genre it relies almost exclusively the reader’s own imagination. It is a highly expressive mechanism for the writer and the reader’s mind.  Very often a soldier’s poetry is deeply emotional, despairing, filled with angst, sometimes hate and fear.  Occasionally the lightness and humour show through to mask the extensive, frequently lasting emotional turmoil soldiers often experience.  A soldier poet often finds a therapeutic and cathartic release through the creation of a poem.

This modest but eclectic anthology of poems and short stories offers a glimpse into the life and times of a modern professional soldier over a forty-year period.  It is loosely designed to show that soldiers are also vulnerable to the great emotional stresses that can affect everybody in every walk of life. It is a short, easily read book will stir many reader’s memories of their own life experiences.

About the Author 

Bruce Sand was born, and grew up in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. He was educated at in that city and joined the Regular Rhodesian Army as a trooper in the, 1st Battalion, Rhodesian Light infantry in 1971. In 1973, after a year of Officer Cadet training, Bruce was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the fledgling Rhodesian Corps of Engineers (RhE) at the onset of the major part of the Zimbabwe Independence Conflict from 1972 until the cessation of hostilities and Independence in 1980. During this period, he saw combat on active service, undertook several command and staff jobs in both the RhE, various HQs and on secondment to the 1st Battalion, Rhodesian African Rifles (1RAR). 

In 1982 Bruce emigrated to Canada and joined the Canadian Military Engineers. He saw a wide variety of military command and staff positions including Operational Service in Former Yugoslavia September 1996 -1997, East Timor September 1999 - April 2000 and Haiti September 2006 - May 2007. Bruce retired from the Regular Canadian Forces in 2008 but attended his service as a fulltime reservist until 31 May 2010 for a total of40 years of military service. 

In 2013 after a failed 32-year marriage, and a diagnosis of a major untreatable illness, Bruce discovered the delight of writing poetry. Early poems led to more poems and several short stories, culminating in this collection being published in 2020.  Bruce remarried in 2017 and lives with his spouse Evelyn in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia.